MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
A politican wants to hold Wall Street accountable for its criminal and willfully negligent behavior -- and lo and behold, it's a Chicago alderwoman, according to the Sun-Times:
Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th Ward) plans to introduce a City Council ordinance ...deleting the bank from its list of 19 designated financial heavy hitters.
Chase as a municipal depository.
..about $350 million in city municipal funds are now deposited with
Hairston argues that JPMorgan Chase should be treated like any other person or business prohibited from doing business with the city:
“The bank has violated the city code by making admissions of dishonesty and deceit in the way they dealt with their investors in the mortgage securities and Bernie Madoff Ponzi scandals,” Hairston [said].
“We use this code against city contractors and all the small companies, why wouldn’t we use this against one of the largest banks in the world,” she said.
“It’s bad enough the penalties imposed against them by the feds don’t really pinch them because they are able to pay off the fines levied against them."
Actually, JP Morgan Chase has made multiple admissions of negligence, fraud and either criminal behavior or what amounts to criminal behavior for a variety of financial misdeeds. But the Obama Administration, through Attorney General Holder, has let CEO Jamie Dimon and Chase off the hook by assessing billions and billions of dollars in fines. As repeatedly reported on BuzzFlash at Truthout, AG Holder has said that the banks too big to fail are too big to prosecute, because indictments and convictions might negatively impact the economy.
Of course, as we have pointed out, Wall Street "negatively affected" the economy in 2007 by nearly destroying it and continues to engage in illicit and willfully negligent activity. That will not stop until the Jamie Dimons of the world know that they might face jail time for creating corporate cultures that tolerate and encourage pushing through the edge of the legal envelope.
Hairston focuses on the most recent settlement, the JP Morgan Chase apparent knowledge that Bernie Madoff was engaged in a massive Ponzi scheme while accepting his deposits without informing the federal government of its concerns until the relatively last moments before he was indicted.
But Hairston needs to list the full sweep of JP Morgan Chase's recent fines, often in exchange for being criminally investigated and prosecuted. It you kited a check, you'd have to show up in court, but Chase shows that if you are going to engage in illegal financial behavior, make it big, very big as in being capable of crashing the US economy.
It is highly unlikely that Mayor Rahm "1%" Emanuel would support an ordinance that would penalize his banking pals, but it's encouraging to see some grassroots efforts to hold Wall Street accountable -- given that the US Department of Justice won't.
On a coincidental and ironic note, Alderwoman Hairston represents the Chicago South Side area where President Obama maintains his Chicago residence near the University of Chicago.
Copyright, Truthout. May not be reprinted without permission.